The card processing company Total System Services Inc. has changed its name to TSYS, and along with the change come fresh efforts in debit card processing and international growth.
The subsidiary of Synovus Financial Corp. of Columbus, Ga., plans next month to introduce a debit card processing product designed to get U.S. banks to outsource their debit card processing for the first time, said Richard W. Ussery, chief executive officer of TSYS (pronounced tee-siss).
The platform will process online and offline debit cards. We think the marketplace is ready for new software, and this will have the same impact as TS2, its popular credit card processing software, Mr. Ussery said. Today we have 2% of the debit card market, and in-house systems are fairly simple and basic. Nobody else will have our capabilities.
Also high among TSYS priorities is conquering foreign markets. Mr. Ussery said the new name, which had been the companys commonly used nickname, is meant to increase brand recognition abroad.
We have had some problems with consistency and with other companies with Total in their names, Mr. Ussery added. This is a little more modern.
Over the next few years, he said, the foreign market for credit card processing is likely to eclipse the U.S. market. This year for the first time, he said, there will probably be more Visa and MasterCard accounts outside the United States than within it.
In Japan, the second-largest credit card market after the United States, TSYS bought a majority stake last August in GP Network Corp., a processor with 100,000 merchant customers. GP Networks other owners include Japans seven largest card issuers.
Mr. Ussery said the purchase gave TSYS an immediate presence in a market where it wants to gain traction quickly. This will be a whole new opportunity we hadnt taken advantage of, he said. You have to go where the growth is.
TSYS entered the European market two years ago and has picked up contracts to process 7.5 million card accounts.
Bradley A. Berning, an analyst with U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray Inc. of Minneapolis, said TSYS has been more successful in Europe than its larger competitor, First Data Corp.
They have not even launched their first customer and they are still winning contracts away from First Data, Mr. Berning said. Our viewpoint is TSYS, with their TS2 platform, is winning acceptance. As for Japan, he calls it ripe for card issuance services.
Mr. Ussery said TSYS expects to go head-to-head with First Data in other international markets. We are probably the only two world-class processors, he said. We will run into them outside the U.S. as well.
Mr. Ussery said TSYS will focus on efforts it considers to be sure things, and those will not likely include online ventures. We are still trying to figure out where the Internet is going and where we fit in all that, he said. It is a learning experience.